best plan on how to open a new optical buisness?


My wife is an optometrist of ten years and is ready to stop working for someone else and start her own establishment.

She is very well liked by all her patients and since moving from NY to NJ last year is ready to go off on her own.

The wall we run into is how to go from dream to reality. in particular where do we get the 300,000$ or so to lease a space, build an optical, get equipment and goods... ?

Do you have to be rich to start a business?

She tried getting some professional loan from citi bank where she has a business account for ten years and they were willing to loan her 30,000$. not nearly enough to do anything with.

between the both of us we have about 100,000$ saved up. also we have two children and a house we pay mortgage on.

any ideas? or is this dreams a burst bubble?

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asked Jan 4 '11 at 02:36
129 points
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3 Answers


Honestly, I'm left with a feeling that you have given up before even beginning.

"you have to be rich to start a business"; "willing to loan her 30,000$. not nearly enough to do anything with"

Will you roll up your sleeves for this to succeed, or are you more looking for an external reason to end this idea and go back to a salaried job?

First off, that $300,000 number, how did you arrive at that? Did you plan to pay all expenses associated with the first year of operation in cash before starting? Don't do that, spread out expenses over time, to so that you generate income which you can use to pay some / most of the expenses.

Second, that $300,000 number again, get massively creative and start working on reducing it. Find things you can get away with not doing, by offloading them to upstream suppliers, buying them cheaply from others, etc.

If you want to be an entrepreneur, then don't just accept the first deal you're offered as being the fair market price. Get creative, negotiate the price down, find other ways, negotiate deferred payment, find a way forward.

The book "Starting on a Shoestring " is a classic read on this topic. It doesn't tell you exactly what to do, it's more like an inspirational tale describing which kinds of supplier financing etc can be available.

One last thing, don't bet the farm. Do not take out a $300,000 loan secured in your house and your other belongings. If it doesn't work out with the business, you'll be in a very dark place. Find a way ahead that is less costly in terms of up-front capital needs.

answered Jan 4 '11 at 11:48
Jesper Mortensen
15,292 points

1 a resource that may be of some help walks through all the basic types of financing and what to think through. Specific for a business You may want to put a business plan together if you haven't already. Get an idea of how many customers will come over to the new location, how regular they are and what that means in sales. Since your earnings are fairly well known I'd think that a program in the may help. The usual suspects for first round of funding is self, friends and family.


answered Jan 4 '11 at 10:15
John Bogrand
2,210 points


Will her suppliers take payments on the equipment? I'd start shopping around for loans/plans from suppliers and look for used equipment to start - also perhaps take on a partner.


Oh - nevermind Jesper already mentioned this point.

answered Jan 4 '11 at 12:14
Tim J
8,346 points

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